Wednesday, April 18, 2012

American Legacy Foundation's Partnership with Time Warner Backfires, as Time Becomes Main Stronghold for Continued Cigarette Advertising in Magazines

As I reported here in the very first entry on this blog, back in March 2005, the American Legacy Foundation embraced Time Warner as its leading corporate partner in 2005-2006 and honored Time, Inc. with an award at a $500-a-plate fundraiser in Manhattan in 2005 because some of Time's magazines did not accept tobacco advertising.

As I wrote:

"At a $500-per-plate fundraiser at Cipriani's in Manhattan on Feb. 28, the American Legacy Foundation honored Time Inc. for "reaching millions with an anti-tobacco message." The dinner invitation page that describes Time Inc.'s qualifications for receiving Legacy's Progress in Media Award features pictures of five Time Inc. magazines: Real Simple, Health, Baby Talk, Cooking Light, and Parenting. According to the dinner invitation, the Legacy Foundation is "gratified that a selection of Time, Inc.’s magazines ... do not accept any tobacco product advertising.”" ...

"While Time Inc.'s adult-oriented magazines like Baby Talk and Parenting may not take tobacco ads, its publications that reach enormous youth audiences expose millions of adolescents to large numbers of cigarette and smokeless tobacco ads each week. According to a March 4 article in The Cancer Letter, the more than 125 Time Inc. magazines not pictured on the Legacy Honors invitation all accept tobacco advertising, with the five magazines pictured being the only ones that do not."

"The truth is that Time Inc. exposes millions of teenage readers to tobacco ads each week. Last year alone, four Time Inc. magazines (TIME, Entertainment Weekly, People, and Sports Illustrated) combined to expose over 4 million adolescents to 219 tobacco ads, up from the 138 tobacco ads that these magazines carried in 2001. And in the first two months of this year, the 22 tobacco ads that appeared in these publications (including cigarette company promotional ads) exceeded the 14 tobacco ads during the same period last year."

It is now six years later and the two largest cigarette companies (Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds) have discontinued advertising in magazines. Many magazines no longer carry cigarette advertising at all.

The Rest of the Story

Despite the tremendous progress that has been made in reducing youth exposure to cigarette advertising in magazines, an article in the Business Insider - entitled
"Cigarette Advertising Is On The Increase Again—And It's Entertainment Weekly's Fault" - reports that there has been a huge increase in cigarette advertising in magazines in the first quarter of 2012, with the second leading culprit being ...

... Time, Inc.

According to the article: "
Cigarette advertising came back to the magazine business with a vengeance in Q1 2012, up 11 percent to 160 pages, according to Magazine Radar. The rest of the magazine ad business is in decline. ... Tobacco advertising has been down in recent years as stricter regulations prevented most companies from promoting their product. But a complete ban on tobacco promotion is not permitted by the First Amendment, according to the U.S. Supreme Court. The company that won that ruling, Lorillard, has taken full advantage. Ad page placements for its Newport brand went up for a second straight year, according to Magazine Radar, by 67 percent to 65 total pages. ... The most-favored magazines for cigarette ads are Motor Trend, Entertainment Weekly and National Enquirer."

Entertainment Weekly
is owned by none other than Time, Inc.

So seven years after being honored by the American Legacy Foundation as an award-winning leader in the anti-tobacco movement, a Time, Inc. publication is now the second leading culprit in still accepting tobacco advertising and continuing to expose our nation's youth to cigarette advertising in magazines. In fact, youth are being exposed at an increasing, not decreasing rate according to the Business Insider. This is of particular concern for African-American youth as Newport, the most heavily advertised brand, is preferred overwhelmingly by African American smokers.

Entertainment Weekly is exposing more than 1 million youth readers to these Newport advertisements, at a time when we thought cigarette advertisements in magazines had ceased to be a problem.

The rest of the story is that the American Legacy Foundation's partnership backfired, as rather than encourage Time, Inc. to discontinue all advertising in magazines, it rewarded the corporation for being a leading carrier of cigarette advertising, taking all pressure off the company to stop accepting cigarette ads. When Lorillard came to Time, Inc. with a request to increase its cigarette advertisements in the first quarter of 2012, Time, Inc. was apparently only too happy to accept.

Moreover, I don't see Legacy attacking Time, Inc. for continuing to accept cigarette advertising, and for one of its magazines being a leading source of exposure of youth to Newport advertising so far in 2012. The corporate partnership appears to have bought off not only praise from Legacy, but to have also bought silence.

After giving an award to Time, Inc. for supposedly being a leader in preventing youth exposure to cigarette advertising in magazines a full seven years ago, where are Time, Inc. and the American Legacy Foundation - former corporate partners - in 2012? Time, Inc. continues to expose youth to cigarette advertising in magazines, and Legacy remains silent on the issue. You would think that after the honors it bestowed upon Time, Legacy would be livid that the corporation has not, by seven years after the award, finally extended its policy of not taking cigarette advertising in some of its magazines to all of its magazines.

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